American Idol and Our New Start-UpFebruary 11th, 2010 | Small Business | 3 Comments »
I’m sitting on the couch, watching the latest American Idol episode. Two things cross my mind. First, if Simon Cowell is going to leave, I only plan on tuning in next year if Howard Stern is the “honest” judge. And, by all accounts, there’s a decent chance that may happen. The second thing that occurs to me is that there are some decent correlations between start-ups and American Idol. What are they? Here’s a fun list:
1. Talent is only Half the Battle: In Adam Smith’s finest hour, efficient markets rule the day and ours is a completely idea/concept driven economy. But this isn’t Mr. Smith’s ideal economy and style often overrules substance. Often times with American Idol, those with the best voices don’t advance. Instead, those with a “story” or a “hook” advance. The best example of this is Sanjaya — no real talent other than creating buzz that advance far into the competition. The same is true with start-ups. You can have the best concept/product in the room, but it won’t matter unless you have an excellent marketing plan.
2. Hurry Up and Wait — People stand in line for days to audition for 30 sec0nds. Painful boredom leading up to small windows of defining moments –you live or die within those moments. The same is true for new businesses. Your concept lives or dies by how you do in a call or meeting.
3. Balance of personalities. You have Randy Jackson (the technician), Kara (the nicer one) and Simon (the honest voice). Most businesses have a similar balance of views — as no single view can best handle all situations.
4. Talent Comes from Anywhere — Kelly Clarkson was an unknown before AI — she is now an industry force because of the opportunity given to her. Similar with business, Silicon Valley doesn’t have a monopoly on technology or new concepts. The next big thing can come from anywhere, including Farg0-Moorhead.
Those are my 4 paralells — feel free to share other similarities.